Steyn became the youngest player in the modern era to don the Green and Gold in a Test when he made his debut at left wing against Ireland in November 2006 at the age of 19 years and 181 days, scoring a try to boot. The last of his 78 Tests was at flyhalf against Argentina in Durban last year, aged 35.
Along with Os du Randt, Steyn (now 36), is the only Springbok to have won two Rugby World Cups – in 2007 and again in 2019. He scored 11 tries for South Africa, as well as kicking 13 conversions, 25 penalty goals and three drop goals for a tally of 165 Test points.
Apart from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup twice – in 2007 Steyn also became the youngest RWC winner – he was also a member of two Springbok squads that won series against the British & Irish Lions (2009 and 2021), he won the Castle Lager Rugby Championship (2009 and 2019) and the Currie Cup with the Cell C Sharks (2008) and Toyota Cheetahs (2023).
Furthermore, Steyn was named the SA U19 Player of the Year (2006), the Most Promising Player of the Year (2007) and he was a nominee for the World Rugby Player of the Year (2009).
“It’s safe to say that Frans Steyn will go down in the annals as a legend of the Springboks and South African rugby,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.
“His achievements speak for themselves, but it’s his discipline to work hard and always deliver his best, his never-give-up attitude, and his will to reach the top that stand out. Whether he started a match or came off the bench, Frans never gave anything less than 100%.
“Frans was a phenomenon when he first hit the senior rugby scene as a teenager and he never backed down, never gave an inch, and always tried to find a way to help his teams win. He was a versatile player who represented the Boks in five positions in the backline and his kicking boot often delivered points when it seemed impossible.
“On behalf of the entire South African rugby family, I would like to thank Frans to his massive contribution to the game we love so much, and we would like to wish him and his family all the best in his retirement.”
Apart from his appearances for South Africa (he also played in three non-Tests), Steyn played 95 matches for the Cell C Sharks at all levels, 29 for the Toyota Cheetahs, 18 for the Toshiba Brave Lupus in Japan, as well as 41 for Racing-92 and 84 for Montpellier in France. He also played for the South African U19s in 2005 and 2006.